Silicon Grail, Chalice, RAYZ, Shake… AHA!

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    Posted: 12 June 2002 05:45 PM

    http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0206/12.grail.php

    You probably have heard this by now, but Apple has just bought yet another Hollywood level compositing tool. Actually, two: Chalice, and RAYZ, a pair of technolgies created by Ray Feeny, an Acadamy Award nominee. But all that can be told from the story above.

    As you well know by now, Apple has also picked up Shake, another major holywood compositing package.

    By itself, it may look like the perfect complement to Final Cut Pro, and a number of people are complaining that Apple is “Waging War” on Adobe, by creating so many products that infringe on their turf.

    But I respectfully disagree with that. I use after effects at work, and it’s definately not in the same range as these programs appear to be. So if not going after Adobe, who is Apple aiming for?

    AVID.

    Avid pretty much brought Apple into the world of Digital editing, but in recent years their support for our favorite fruit company has been significantly lackluster. Composer is not X native, Symphony and DS is PC only, XpressDV for MacOS X is expected around the middle of this year.

    In other words, the company that brought the Mac to Hollywood has been doing veryy well at taking them back out again.

    If you look at Apple’s recent software strategies, I think this bears out. The recent release of Cinema Tools for Final Cut Pro is definately a step towards a stronger Film-editing presence. A toop-shelf 3d/2d compositing suite to go along with that would once again place Apple ina top spot to compete against the Bloated hulk that is Avid, and it’s stranglehold on the minds of producers around the country.

    In turn, this would force Avid to become more competitive with Apple. If Avid drops support for Apple, companies now can drop Avid and keep the Mac, instead of dropping Apple and going for IBM Intellistations. In addition, they will have to compete for feature sets against the new Apple products, meaning better products on both sides of the Mac/PC divide.

    With all the people complaining about Apple buying up these technologies to crush competition, I think we miss the big picture: I think Apple’s purchase of these technologies will stimulate competition in this area, and all consumers, Mac and PC alike, will benefit.

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    -Jon Roth

    Instant Philosopher; Just add hot topic and stir.

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2002 01:19 PM #1

    Seriously Sweet!!!

    [quote author=“KitsuneStudios”]http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0206/12.grail.php

    You probably have heard this by now, but Apple has just bought yet another Hollywood level compositing tool. Actually, two: Chalice, and RAYZ, a pair of technolgies created by Ray Feeny, an Acadamy Award nominee. But all that can be told from the story above.

    As you well know by now, Apple has also picked up Shake, another major holywood compositing package.

    By itself, it may look like the perfect complement to Final Cut Pro, and a number of people are complaining that Apple is “Waging War” on Adobe, by creating so many products that infringe on their turf.

    But I respectfully disagree with that. I use after effects at work, and it’s definately not in the same range as these programs appear to be. So if not going after Adobe, who is Apple aiming for?

    AVID.

    Avid pretty much brought Apple into the world of Digital editing, but in recent years their support for our favorite fruit company has been significantly lackluster. Composer is not X native, Symphony and DS is PC only, XpressDV for MacOS X is expected around the middle of this year.

    In other words, the company that brought the Mac to Hollywood has been doing veryy well at taking them back out again.

    If you look at Apple’s recent software strategies, I think this bears out. The recent release of Cinema Tools for Final Cut Pro is definately a step towards a stronger Film-editing presence. A toop-shelf 3d/2d compositing suite to go along with that would once again place Apple ina top spot to compete against the Bloated hulk that is Avid, and it’s stranglehold on the minds of producers around the country.

    In turn, this would force Avid to become more competitive with Apple. If Avid drops support for Apple, companies now can drop Avid and keep the Mac, instead of dropping Apple and going for IBM Intellistations. In addition, they will have to compete for feature sets against the new Apple products, meaning better products on both sides of the Mac/PC divide.

    With all the people complaining about Apple buying up these technologies to crush competition, I think we miss the big picture: I think Apple’s purchase of these technologies will stimulate competition in this area, and all consumers, Mac and PC alike, will benefit.

    You are absolutely correct… AVID is in trouble. Apple, I believe, is going to begin hammering AVID on a number of fronts, especially the ‘high end’ effects market. Shake alone made this possible, not the new Grail products will only strengthen Apple’s thrust into AVID’s flank.

    At the same time, I do sort of see Adobe’s fear of what Apple is doing. FCP does infringe on Premiere, and a lot of what Apple has done recently with acquisitions will make it possible to attack the After Effects market. All Apple has to do is rework the Shake and Grail products, and before you know it, they have a super high end and a quality ‘After Effects’ level product. Hell, it seems like no one is safe!!! grin

    Mitch

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    Hmmm… software.

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2002 01:32 PM #2

    I don’t really know a lot about video editing, but I’m curious.  How would a high end mac system stack up against an entire Avid system?  Doesn’t avid make machines custom designed for film editing?  Have these been surpassed by the growing power of desktop computing?

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    Posted: 13 June 2002 01:58 PM #3

    [quote author=“EDGar”]I don’t really know a lot about video editing, but I’m curious.  How would a high end mac system stack up against an entire Avid system?  Doesn’t avid make machines custom designed for film editing?  Have these been surpassed by the growing power of desktop computing?

    I just asked our office Co-inhabitant, a video editor who does his work on Macs with Final Cut Pro. I got some interesting answers…

    Apple is definately eating at Avid’s product line. Final Cut Pro is in direct competition with their offline editing product, XpressDV (Which was a PC only product until Final Cut Pro gave Avid users a great reason to keep their Macs). According to him, Final Cut Pro can do much more than Xpress can, too. Thanks to the Matrox Real-Time card that came out, and the current ability to do online real-time video with Final Cut Pro 3, Apple is starting to make serious in-roads into the high-end ($80,000) system territory.

    There are still a number of things that the high end Avid systems can do that Final Cut can’t, but I’m willing to bet that all of those are in the field of compositing, rather than editing.

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    -Jon Roth

    Instant Philosopher; Just add hot topic and stir.

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2002 10:05 PM #4

    Jon:

    Thanks for the insights. I agree Apple is not going after Adobe’s turf. The company’s sights are set well beyond Adobe. This is interesting to watch. Avid has…oh never mind! Watch Monday’s Apple Stock Watch Report for more LOL

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2002 10:16 PM #5

    [quote author=“KitsuneStudios”]Thanks to the Matrox Real-Time card that came out, and the current ability to do online real-time video with Final Cut Pro 3, Apple is starting to make serious in-roads into the high-end ($80,000) system territory.

    You mean Apple’s sub-$10,000 system (assuming a pretty maxed out DP machine with the $700 Matrox card and $1000 for FCP3) is in direct competition with systems that go for $80,000? That’s pretty incredible. Go Apple! smile

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  • Posted: 14 June 2002 05:28 AM #6

    Lots of options for Apple

    Actually, I see Apple vs. Adobe differently. Final Cut Pro is a direct competitor to Adobe Premiere on the Mac platform. This alone makes Apple and Adobe adversaries. Also, the products Apple has purchased lately can be configured to compete with Pinnacle, AVID and Boris-type products. Adobe not only has something to worry about, so do other companies, including Microsoft. Apple is, at the very least, gearing up for some form of visual effects market thrust. Because Apple and Pixar have a unique relationship, Apple has access to Renderman, one of the effects industry’s crown jewels.

    It is the underlying technology that Apple wanted, not necessarily the ‘packaged’ product. In fact, some of the material they have bought lately doesn’t currently run on the Mac platform. Don’t think for a moment that the player in the animation and visual effects industry, including our friends at Adobe, are not trying to figure out what Apple is doing. I look for Apple to step up their efforts, and probably purchase a 3d software outfit like Newtek or some other solid app.

    If I were King of Apple, next on my purchase list would be Newtek and Macromedia.

    Mitch

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    Hmmm… software.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2002 09:53 PM #7

    I don’t view Apple and Adobe as adversaries. I view them as companies with mostly complimentary products that also compete in a few areas of business. I don’t see Apple interested in application software other than the iApps which are made available for free to attract consumers and high-end digital video software that provides a complete, high-margin solution for certain specialty markets.

    No one knows better the technology needs of motion picture and animation studios than Apple’s CEO and co-founder. For the most part Adobe does not play in that market. Final Cut Pro may compete with Premeire and After Effects, but going to war with Adobe is not Apple’s aim. Apple has defined itself as a hardware company. In order to gain share in the more lucrative markets, Apple needs to provide workstation solutions.

    Apple’s agenda for the Mac in the pro video market did not synch with Adobe’s timetable for Mac upgrades and enhancements to Premiere and After Effects. Apple is in the business of selling hardware not software but will venture into software when it’s advantageous for hardware sales. Please note that Apple does sell Premiere and After Effects on its Web site. 

    IMHO Apple is not about to go to war with major software companies at the same time it’s coaxing those companies to develop for OS X. However, Apple will not shy away from minor skirmishes such as the Final Cut Pro/Premier After Effects battle when it meets Apple’s expressed needs. 

    I doubt that Apple is at all interested in acquiring Macromedia or other major software developer. I believe Apple is more interested in developing workstation solutions that will meet the needs of major studios and production houses as the G4/G5 advances in power and Mac OS X matures in its builds.

    An acquisition of Macromedia would cost Apple at least $1 billion in cash and/or stock and so change the software market landscape that Apple would be hard pressed to find partners among software companies that make competing products.

    What has been attractive for Apple about its recent acquisitions is that many of the technologies they are acquiring have not been made available for the Mac and the costs of the acquisitions are relatively small. Reading carefully the release concerning the most recent acquisition, Apple is acquiring the products, not a formal acquisition of the company.

    Robert

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2002 09:28 AM #8

    Ignorant Question

    I’m another person that can only speculate about these kinds of things from the side-lines. I’m more interested in this from the “what is Apple doing next?” point of view.

    That being said, I have always wondered why Apple hasn’t ever bought (or at least merged with) Adobe. They seem like a natural pairing. If Apple had full control over Adobe’s assets, it could give them some additional leverage against that portion of MS that is trying to move the DTP / Graphics Arts market onto Windows Machines.

    Especially now, when Apple has incorporated PDF right into OS X, having Adobe as an in-house company would help insure that they have the most feature rich version. I could go on, but I think that the myriad of benefits Apple could gain from acquiring Adobe speaks for itself. Think iPhotoshop.

    So, why hasn’t it happened? Is it a money matter? Or has it just not been the right time? It sure seems like the right time, now!

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  • Posted: 15 June 2002 09:51 AM #9

    Apple has defined itself as a hardware company. Currently, Adobe’s market value exceeds that of Apple. In other words, it would cost Apple more to acquire Adobe than Apple is worth. Secondly, it would put Apple in the Windows software business and due to both company’s commanding presence in certain markets, there may be anti-trust considerations.

    An acquisition of Adobe by Apple would force a major restructuring of the combined company and change the focus of Apple’s approach to the market. For a very small fraction of the $8 - $9 billion it would cost Apple to acquire Adobe (provided Adobe wanted to be acquired), Apple has recently purchased PowerSchool, Nothing Real and the technology assets acquired this week.  It’s a much smaller price tag for products and technologies that fit Apple’s current product plans.

    Robert

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2002 03:40 PM #10

    Old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Adobe and Apple have a very good relationship for the most part. Almost all of Adobe’s products are cross platform compatable, and available on X (The notable exceptions being Premiere and Streamline). Because Mac software is such a profitable business for them,and they have competition from Macromedia and Quark to keep them competitive, Apple has no need to compete directly with Adobe. To do so would simply replace a cross platform solution with a proprietary one: something a company with 4% market share really doesn’t need. Many of the technologies Apple has introduced with MacOS X, like PDF-based rendering, and native Postscript, are areas that Adobe can take advantage of to make a better Mac product.

    Video is a different story. Apple has many excellent technologies for video, like Quicktime and the G4, which helped to make them a leader in Digital Video. However, When the market share was dropping, the major video software developer, Avid, dropped Mac support. Apple now faced a postion where they faced losing a major market, as people ditched their Macs to keep up with Avid, while Adobe video products (especially Premiere) weren’t taking advantage of the technologies that Apple was offering. The choice was simple: Develop a video software solution, or lose the market. It worked wonderfully: Final Cut Pro and iMovie kept Apple as a viable choice for video editing. As people started keeping their Macs and replacing the software, Avid was forced to re-evaluate their position on producing Mac Capable software. I’m willing to be also that Adobe is taking so long to realease Premiere because they need to do some major catching up to be competitive wit Final Cut Pro. The result is more competition, more choice, and more opportunities for Mac customers.

    Apple is the last of it’s breed: A computer maker. The last company to produce both the hardware and software. Because of this, I think Apple will continue to produce software to make it competitive with brand name PCs. That means iApps to compete with built-in 3rd party solutions used by companies like Dell and Gateway, and Pro Apps to either create new markets for people to buy their computers, or to preserve markets that might crumble from lack of 3rd party development.

    If you want to see where Apple might create their software, don’t look at where Apple is successful: look at where the company is weakest or most vulnerable. Apple bought PowerSchool when their Education sales were being threatened by Dell. This is why I agree with Sigmascape about Renderman: Apple needs a strong 3d rendering solution. I think gaming is another area that we might want to see Apple invest in. For iApps, see what free software comes with the competition, or to support new digital devices as they become available.

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    -Jon Roth

    Instant Philosopher; Just add hot topic and stir.

         
  • Posted: 17 June 2002 10:46 AM #11

    [quote author=“KitsuneStudios”]Old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


    If you want to see where Apple might create their software, don’t look at where Apple is successful: look at where the company is weakest or most vulnerable. Apple bought PowerSchool when their Education sales were being threatened by Dell. This is why I agree with Sigmascape about Renderman: Apple needs a strong 3d rendering solution. I think gaming is another area that we might want to see Apple invest in. For iApps, see what free software comes with the competition, or to support new digital devices as they become available.

    YES!!! Gaming is one aread where I’d love to see Apple jump in. I know that comparing Apple to MS is dangerous, but MS has made HUGE strides into the entertainment software business. Not just the Xbox, but look at all of the game makers they own. It is astounding!

    Mitch

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    Hmmm… software.

         
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    Posted: 20 June 2002 08:34 PM #12

    Here we go again!

    http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0206/20.prismo.php

    To sum up, Apple has just bought technologies from Prismo, makers of the product India Titler Pro.

    So, We have one of the best titling applications being added onto a killer Compositing software base thanks to Shake, along with serious color correction tools and additional effects from Rayz.

    Add the User interface quality of Macintosh Applications, tight integration with Quicktime technologies, and likely strong integration with Final Cut Pro (If they haven’t been added to FCP, that is), and this should be a truly exciting program.

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    -Jon Roth

    Instant Philosopher; Just add hot topic and stir.